Our Thrift Store: Matching the Right Person to the Right Job
Key Factors to Our Thrift Store’s Success
- Willing to customize jobs to suit individual needs and strengths
- Offering a team-based work environment
- Demonstrating a strong commitment to hiring young people with disabilities
- Serving as a model for other employers
- Demonstrating commitment to Our Thrift Store by purchasing and donating items on a regular basis
At first glance, Our Thrift Store in Franklin appears to be your average thrift store, a treasure trove of donated furniture, clothes, books, toys, and other items. However, spend some time talking to Dave Krikac, the founder of the Gear Foundation and Our Thrift Store, and you’ll quickly learn that it is a very unique business. A key mission of Our Thrift Store is to provide jobs to young adults with disabilities. Almost 10 years ago, Dave founded the store after his daughter (who has autism) graduated from high school and experienced difficulty finding a job. Currently, Our Thrift Store has 41 employees, 22 of whom have disabilities.
Dave understands that businesses need the gifts and talents young people with disabilities bring to the workplace. Though not every employer can replicate the model of Our Thrift Store, Dave challenges all employers to create at least one job for a person with a disability. He encourages employers to start off small, to think about just one job they need done that a young adult with a disability can do. Every young person has unique talents that can be matched to the right job that benefits both them and their employer. For example, Our Thrift Store created a job for a young person with a disability who has complex communication needs but excels at typing in spreadsheets. This employee is trained to update donation receipts into an Excel spreadsheet. Using this spreadsheet, Our Thrift Store ensures that every person who gives a donation to the store gets a thank you card.
In addition to benefiting from the skills and talents of young people with disabilities, employers ensure that those young adults are now tax-paying citizens who contribute to their community and have dreams for their future.
For more information on Our Thrift Store, please visit their website, their Facebook page, or read an article featuring the business on the Huffington Post.
Huffington Post article highlighting Our Thrift Store: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bus-52/our-thrift-store-video_b_2930613.html